If the just-passed holiday season is any indication, mobile shopping is leading the way consumers buy. In turn, this dramatic change in consumer behavior is transforming how marketers engage with consumers.
However, mobile shopping is just one digital marketing trend that is altering how marketers persuade customers to purchase their products and services. Marketers also must consider a larger, multifaceted landscape, which includes consumer behavior, data analysis, technology, and the structure of their marketing teams.
• The consumer is always connected: A store may only be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., but shoppers are always able to buy, thanks to the easily accessible Internet and their mobile devices. In the past year, companies have acknowledged their need to better focus on today’s consumers, who move across multiple devices, information sets, and buying experiences very quickly to make an informed but seemingly nonlinear buying decision. This requires an omnichannel approach that many marketers are still evolving. As reported in our “2014 CMO Digital Benchmark Study,” omnichannel was the least developed overall capability, with only 4% of marketing executives reporting it as extremely well-developed within their organizations. Expect this to be a primary focus in 2015.
• Predictive analytics is the new black: The rise of data/analytics for both new customers/sales and ROI has given CMOs and their C-suite brethren tools to make informed decisions and actions quickly--and that is not likely to go out of fashion anytime soon. Most organizations have invested in building data models and deploying data scientists to get a single view of the customer and results. The next frontier is to use individual behavioral data to better understand why consumers are making their purchase decisions and how to influence the next one. Then predictive models can be used to better personalize media and consumer experiences and guide investments based on a consumer’s expected value and likelihood to buy.
With media buying becoming more automated, predictive analytics will be extremely important to ensure the full consumer journey is personalized to the consumer and can efficiently scale for the marketer, from initial media impression through the conversion into a new customer or sale.
• Agile marketing will drive more efficient planning and budgeting: In the past, marketers have built the majority of their budgets based on traditional channels and results, with relatively modest increases based on business objectives. This year, a different scenario is unfolding: The new, agile marketer has structured plans and cross-discipline alignment to drive more ROI from their market plans while lowering cost.
Better results for less money is always good news, especially since chief marketers will be more accountable to prove ROI. In our study, 63% of marketing executives reported that they are expected to deliver marketing objectives that will boost financial metrics as opposed to awareness or engagement metrics.
• CMOs, CDOs, CCOs, CIOs, and others continue to crowd the C-suite: There has been an explosion recently of executive titles, such as chief data officer and chief customer officer, in an effort for large organizations to better manage digital, data and the consumer. This approach is absolutely right. But there is a growing call for clarity on how these high-powered executives, and their teams, will work together to drive bottom-line results. This clarification is also a priority for CEOs, as reflected in Gartner’s “2014 CEO and Senior Executive Survey.” Chief executives ranked digital marketing as the top technology investment to improve business over the next five years.
As a next step, CEOs need to assign who owns the customer, who owns the strategy, and who is responsible for business outcomes to develop a true consumer-centric operating structure. This high-level priority should accelerate role clarification, enabling organizations to move fast internally and allow them to be truly agile in their marketplace efforts. We can expect more fusion, and hopefully less confusion, as these roles evolve.